Thursday, April 25, 2013


I had to chuckle at a comment from a friend who expressed appreciation for one of my contemporary poems: "What a blessing it must be to be able to just sit down and let those words flow onto paper!"

NOT! I must correct that.

That would not only be a blessing but a miracle! That's not the way my creative juices flow. Writing one poem may begin with a kernel idea, a thought. But after putting something down on paper there follows sometimes 6 plus hours of concentrated work--the editing seems endless. I examine each word and phrase and polish and rewrite until it has little resemblance to the original draft. And I am never satisfied. Each time I look at it, I revise again, try to choose better words.

My rhyming is usually internal within the phrases, not consistently at the end of a line. I write sense lines in free verse, not metered, and use alliteration and like-sounding words to develop my thoughts. I rely heavily on the 5 senses and emotion.  Note examples below:  "sallow/sun/snuggles" and "comfy coverlet" "blazing/brilliance/bouncing"  -- that sort of thing. (I taught free verse poetry workshops at writers conferences so I try to do more than dash off a few lines and call it a poem.

This is just to let you know that a poem is like a musical composition  or an artist's painting, not off the top of one's head. Actually, I paint with words too. 

Two Spring Dawn Poems
by Leona Choy

On muted winter mornings
the sallow sun snuggles lazily
beneath the comfy coverlet of night
reluctant to leave his bed of stars
and down-filled comforter of clouds.

I love to sleep late
deep under my cozy patchwork counterpane
unaware of hazy late morning light
oblivious to my alarm clock
snoozing silently with me
in its “long doze” mode.

But now in spring
the sun flings off his blanket
and rises swiftly
from his restless sleep
with blazing brilliance bouncing up
the rosy steps of day
scaling the Blue Ridge mountains
in a matter of minutes
framed in my eastern window.

How do I know?
Because the sun teases me
by turning on dawn's light
long before six
and sounding a reveille
of chirping birds
compelling me to wake and witness
his daily solar spectacle
and not be late to appreciate
another splendid Virginia dawn.


(My meditation on Psalm 19, The perfect Revelation
of the Lord 'to the Chief Musician.' A Psalm of David

Dawn lingers impatiently on the horizon
eager to cast off her robes of night.
The sun yawns one last time
and turns his face to heaven
magnetically drawn to the skies
in adoration of his Creator
then rises in jubilant splendor
to glorify God:
The heavens declare the glory of God.”

Earth stirs with myriad life:
flowers open fragile petals
wet with grateful dew-tears
for the light of another day
to display God magnificence
and His miracle touch to quicken
all the slumbering earth for its tasks:
The firmament shows His handiwork.”

Each new day utters psalms
speaking forth its gratitude for being
sustained and ordered by God.
Night after night shows Divine patterns.
Nowhere is their witness
hidden from human eyes.
Day unto day utters speech
and night unto night shows forth knowledge.”

Man, who looks upon these wonders
joins joyfully in unison
with earth and heaven above
to proclaim God's majesty and power
and overwhelming love—
and so do I!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013


I guess I have spring fever...or is it my allergy?
Each fresh spring God's lavish creation comes alive everywhere with multi-shades of green, pink, yellow, lavender and scents to match.

God is a Painter called spring

He takes the drab canvas
of leaden winter skies
dusky and dark
cinnamon hills, naked trees
ice-bound silent brooks
skeleton fences
and with a dip of His brush
into rich colors
He transforms all Nature
into a masterpiece of brilliance.

The ageless springtime scenario
is superimposed on skies of primary blue
set off by wisp-white cotton clouds
afloat like misshapen balloons
above hills daubed with multi-green.

Trees are splashed with blossoms
whose exhilarating fragrance intoxicates
and revives winter-sedated nostrils.
Brooks melt and once again
laugh with childish abandon.
Fences stretch eager arms
for scarlet tanager to perch and sing.
Posts and stumps are enhanced
with vines while morning glories
twine and cling.

God's cyclic miracle is displayed
alike in Nature's scene
and in my human heart.

O Divine Painter, my Christ,
I lay my life bare before You.
My worn winter canvas
is not fresh and clean, alas,
but botched and bungled
defaced by novice hands
of self and sin.

You take Redemption's brush
and recast my routine days
of grays and tedium
into a fresh adventure
with the Divine.
To You I turn my face
as Nature does so trustingly
in anticipation of Your skill
and I thrill to the artistic finesse
of Your delicate brush
transforming me, O Master Artist,
with Your vivid, lustrous colors
into spring again!

Therefore, if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature;
the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.”
2 Corinthians 5:17

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Used up—for God's purpose

(Excerpt from Chapter Three of Leona's book-in-progress ROCKING ON MY SUMMIT)

When one reaches the summit years, it is a temptation to feel “used up.” Energy is at a low ebb. Weariness is a constant companion. Goal setting has receded into the background. Life seems to have lost its purpose. Advanced age tends to pull fatigue along in its wake.


Sometimes I rise up, Lord
and run great guns
bubbling with enthusiasm
when life is exciting and fun.

Lord, I sit down too, too often
in depression and deflation
discouraged, despondent
tired and limp, overwhelmed with life.
All I can do is slump in a lump
on the sofa and snooze.

I confess to an energy crisis.
From being a fireball
at start of the day
I soon call a halt
to life's hectic race
and crawl into bed
and drift away
hoping while sleeping
to recharge
my exhausted battery someway.

You know it all, Lord:
my downsittings
and my uprisings
and how often I vacillate
from one to the other.

You said You understand
and in that truth I rest
content to lean
with my ups and downs
upon Your breast.

“You know when I sit down and when I rise up; You understand my thought from afar.” (Psalm 139:2)

George Bernard Shaw addressed the issue of maintaining one's purpose in perspective in a piece called “A Splendid Torch.” I have altered it with a few words in brackets to fit my Christian worldview. 
“This is the true joy of life, the being used up for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one; being a force of nature instead of a feverish, selfish little clod of ailments and grievances, complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy.

I am of the opinion that my life belongs to the community,[to GOD] and as long as I live, it is my privilege to do for it [for HIM] whatever I can. I want to be thoroughly used up when I die, for the harder I work,[WITH GOD'S ENABLING] the more I live.

Life is no 'brief candle' to me. It is a sort of splendid torch which I have got hold of for a moment, and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it on to future generations.”

It is so easy in one's latter season of life to lose the fire, to be left with smoldering charcoal embers in one's spirit. I long for the burning heart of early years, the “first-love” flush, the touch and thrill of the Holy Spirit's moving in my soul. I long for the “fresh fire” of renewal, the breath of God stirring within, blowing on my charcoal embers to restore a glow—then a flame again. It is mine for the asking!


Come, Holy Spirit!
Descend on me with FRESH FIRE
flames of Pentecost, tongues of FIRE
to burn away the dross of self
fall upon me, fill me, purify my soul
renew my stony heart to flesh.

Veni Sancte Spiritus
Light me once again AFIRE
transform me into a burning bush
yet not consumed, a living sacrifice
touch my lips with glowing coals until
I am fully possessed by You
to think holy thoughts and speak holy words.

I see reflected in Your holy FIRE
the brilliance of Your Manifest Presence
let the flames of Your searing love
blaze fiercely on the altar of my heart
never quenched, never diminished
a perpetual sacrifice of praise
as fragrant incense rising to Your throne.

Spirit of God, impart to me a burning heart
as I walk with Christ on my Emmaus road
fan the embers of my diminishing passion
back again to “first love” intensity.

Spirit of God, endue me with holy power
to spread Your FIRE to those within my reach
ignite their hearts ablaze and draw them
from the kingdom of darkness
to Your brilliant Kingdom of Light
by Your uncommon FIRE!

Friday, April 12, 2013

Search me, O Lord

(Excerpt from Chapter One, book in progress ROCKING ON MY SUMMIT)
Being at the summit also implies summary—I can benefit from writing an account of what I learned from the long, steep climb to reach this summit. Since the Lord has been my Master Teacher for most of my life, I should have learned a lot. Early in my life, I decided I would try to evaluate my journey as I went along to be sure I had the right goals in view, and that my life-ladder was leaning against the right house that God wanted to build of my life.

I’ve tried to live the examined life, which Plato said was the only life worth living. I didn’t want to arrive at my chronological top of the mountain with a backpack full of regrets, nor view the other side of the mountain with disillusionment, despair, or dread. At intervals, at least once a year, I've tried to set aside some time to ask myself specific, searching questions and write in a journal. My answers aren’t meant for anyone to see but God, the Searcher of hearts. 
I wish I had begun that self-evaluation practice earlier. Had I done so and continued it more regularly I could have prevented some detours for which I do have regrets. However, I don’t focus on those now. I repented of them, confessed them, turned from them and believe that God has forgiven me. I keep moving on. Among the questions I've asked myself are: 
Do I know God’s purpose for my life? What talents, capabilities, skills and gifts has God given me to carry out that purpose? What have been my specific life goals? Are they realistic, measurable, and attainable? Am I certain they are God’s goals for me to pursue? Have I been achieving my potential based on resources and opportunities God has given me? What real or imagined obstacles have I faced? What are my current limitations? Can I do anything about them? To what degree have I come to terms with them, and am accepting them joyfully? 
Am I in line with how God measures success, or do I try to live up to my own or other people’s expectations? Do I define my self-worth in terms of my accomplishments or my character? What cause, issue, or calling am I passionate about? Is it from God, from my own ambition, or imposed by others? Am I more concerned about personal satisfaction and happiness or how I can serve and encourage others? What were the darkest events or periods of my life? Did I grow through them or did they set me back? Do I see God’s hand in them for my good?

The closer I came to the top of my chronological mountain, the more time-sensitive my self-evaluation becomes. I ask myself:

From the perspective of an average life span, how many physically, mentally and spiritually productive or alert years might realistically lie ahead of me? In view of that, on what priorities should I focus? What “things of the world” or “cares of life” hinder my pursuit of eternal values and sap my time and strength? What could I eliminate or limit? Is there anything significant I am missing in my life? Should I still go for it or accept its absence? 
What benefits and bonus blessings has God given me at this time of my life for which I should specifically thank Him? Is my life characterized by joy and optimism or by complaint, negativism, defeat, depression, or regrets? Do I have a grateful, contented heart toward God, or am I frustrated about unfinished work, unfulfilled goals, broken dreams, or unsatisfactory relationships? Is Christ truly still the center of my life, or am I focused on a cause, a ministry, a person, or my own desires? Am I satisfied with what I have become and with what God in His omniscience decided to paint on the canvas of my life?

Such questions go to the core of my authentic self, my inner person, my eternal spirit created by God. I struggle over the honesty of my answers and what they expose of my inner life. My answers stir me to redeem the time God is still allotting me. Some answers cause me to shout with a grateful heart when I see how wisely God is leading me, especially when I have been prone to go off on detours. So often He lovingly jerks my leash and sometimes not so gently guides me into His best ways. Always I am energized by God’s absolute goodness and sovereign work in my life.